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SWAC championship games return to Birmingham


City of Birmingham Public Information Office

The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) announced this week that the 2018 Toyota SWAC Football Championship will return home to Legion Field, and the 2019 SWAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament will be played in the Bill Harris Arena – located next to the Birmingham CrossPlex.

“As the founding home of the SWAC football championship game, a longtime destination for the SWAC basketball tournament and the home of the SWAC headquarters, Birmingham is fully committed to the SWAC, its institutions, its leadership, alumni, and most importantly its student-athletes,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said. “I’m happy to have SWAC back in Birmingham.’’

The SWAC football championship game will be held Dec. 1, and the SWAC basketball tournament March 13-16, 2019.

SWAC has played a memorable role in Birmingham’s rich sports history. Legion Field served as the initial home of the SWAC Football Championship from 1999 to 2012. Legion Field also plays host to the annual Magic City Classic between Alabama State and Alabama Agriculture & Mechanical Universities. The Magic City Classic consistently ranks as the highest-attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) football classic in the country.

Birmingham also served as the site of the SWAC Basketball tournament during the mid-2000s, with Bill Harris Arena holding the event as recently as 2009. The championship game was moved to Legacy Arena in 2010.

“As a historically black college graduate and chairperson of the City of Birmingham’s Parks & Recreation Committee, I am encouraged by the Southwestern Athletic Conference giving the City of Birmingham an opportunity to be its partner,” said Councilor William Parker, a Talladega College graduate.

SWAC is the most accomplished athletic conference among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), having sent dozens of players to the NFL and the NBA. SWAC has led the nation in NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision attendance for 31 consecutive seasons.

“The economic impact of these sporting events being held in the City of Birmingham will have collateral benefits to our communities and constituents, which affirms our commitment to enhancing the quality of life within our great city,” Parker added.